Singer-composer-lyricist Baba Sehgal discusses his lockdown releases and determination to stay afloat during life’s lowest phases
Baba Sehgal thrives on the love of his online community of fans. Known for a penchant to reinvent himself constantly, Baba — whose real name is Harjeet Singh, and who is known for his 1990s Hindi rap numbers interspersed with funny lines (Remember ‘Manjula, Manjula?’) — has had a three-decade-long career in the music industry. Suffice to say, it has been a roller coaster ride but the singer-composer-lyricist has learnt to adapt and survive whilst remaining prolific.
Among the 20 songs that Baba has released since March 2020, ‘Namaste’, ‘Corona Go Go’, ‘Kela Khao’ and ‘Shining Tera Daant Hai’ have struck a humorous chord. His songs have generated 25 million views combined during lockdown; the most recent track— a farewell song for — ‘Ramba Ho’ puts listeners in a good mood with its positive message. “It (‘Ramba Ho’) is a term to be happy and not give up. Many people have been hit hard due to the pandemic… but be hopeful of 2021. It is all in the perception,” he says.
In fact ‘Never Give Up’ has been his life’s mantra. Baba’s career has been through many ups and downs but he continued to make music. “Even when I hit rock bottom, I believed that there is light at the end of the tunnel,” he addsBaba incorporates the idioms and phrases that he follows in his songs. One of his songs ‘Why am I so sexy, sexy, sexy? Sheesha rakho saamne, Dekho apne aapko, Smile karke poochlo, Apne darling ke baap ko, Why am I so sexy sexy sexy is a song to boost one’s self-esteem and believe ‘Every one is good in their own way so don’t compare.’
Edited excerpts from an email interview:
Carving a niche for oneself as an independent artiste in the music industry is difficult, especially for over three decades…
It’s not easy to remain relevant in this industry and that too for an independent artiste like me. I remember coming to Bombay in 1990 with the dream of becoming (maybe) 1% of Kishore Kumar. I have been blessed and am lucky to have established my identity as a rapper/artiste. Social media helps me connect with my fans.
Your career has seen many highs and lows…
Ups and downs are part of life. Good or bad times, I have always believed in God. After a low phase, I have always come out stronger. Despite COVID-19 in 2020, I was busy doing my songs and brand endorsements so I was lucky. But I’m sure 2021 is going to be rocking for everyone in the industry.
Many young artistes have taken to rap. Your comments?
I have always appreciated newcomers coming up with raps. But then only those who are doing original music will survive.
Tell us about your creative process.
I think God has been very kind to me. When I make my songs, I think of the title first and then get into the making zone.
You share a special connect with Hyderabad.
I have been a playback singer in the South, particularly in Telugu film industry, for the past 15 years and have rendered more than 100 film songs to date. They call me ‘Power singer’ there. So Hyderabad is very close to my heart.
Do you follow a fitness regimen?
I give a lot of importance to fitness and it feels good when someone compliments you for the looks and style. I try to even motivate people to follow a fitness routine through my videos on Instagram and Facebook.
Any new projects?
I don’t plan anything in life… I go with the flow.